Editor’s note: With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to equip you with the information you need. We will try to keep things in context and focus on helping you make decisions. See a list of resources and frequently asked questions at the end of this story.
MT. CARMEL, Ohio - As shoppers try to avoid large crowds during the COVID-19 crisis, many are opting to buy groceries with curbside pick-up.
It’s why Kroger is looking to hire 250 workers for its Mt. Carmel store this weekend.
Luckily for Sierra Jones, who just got laid off, it’s the right job at the right time.
“I really like customer service,” Jones told WCPO 9 News.
“I like to keep working, so a lot of grocery stores are hiring, and Kroger is close.”
The Mt. Carmel store just opened for curbside pick-up this week.
“We’ve been thinking about this model for a few months now as a company, and it just seemed like the right time to try it,” said Erin Rolfes, Kroger’s corporate affairs manager.
Customers place their orders online, then staffers go through the aisles, pick up items, prepare the order, and bring it directly to the customer’s car.
Rolfes says Kroger has seen a big increase in customers choosing this option, but she maintains stores are still safe for shoppers and workers.
“We expect this demand in workers to continue to grow,” Rolfes said.
Jones applied at Kroger on Friday. Losing her old job was stressful, she said.
“I was really worried if it was going to keep going downhill, or if maybe it was just going to be a few employees for a while and then pick back up,” Jones said. “It was definitely stressful.”
Kroger held an open job fair Friday and it resumes Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Mt. Carmel store.
Rolfes hopes the new hires will reduce the stress on current store workers, who have been on overdrive since the pandemic began.
Find more coronavirus/COVID-19 hotlines and resources below:
- Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 833-4-ASK-ODH
- See ODH’s COVID-19 resources here.
- State COVID-19 hotline: 1-800-722-5725
- See the Cabinet for Health and Family Services coronavirus resource site here.
- SDH Epidemiology Resource Center: (317) 233-7125 or (317) 233-1325 after hours, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- See more information for coronavirus in Indiana here.
What is coronavirus, COVID-19?
According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are "a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
A novel coronavirus, such as COVID-19, is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 37 locations across the globe, including in the U.S., according to the CDC.
The CDC reports the initial patients in China have some link to a large seafood and live animal market, indicative of animal-to-person spread. A growing number of patients, however, did not report exposure to animal markets, indicating the disease is spreading person-to-person.
What are the symptoms? How does it spread?
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death, according to the CDC. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath.
The CDC said symptoms could appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. It is similar to the incubation period for MERS.
Spread of the virus is thought to be mainly from person-to-person. Spread is between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet). Spread occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
According to the CDC, it could be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, the CDC said.
The disease is most contagious when people are the sickest and showing the most symptoms.